STARRING Robin Williams, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Monica Potter, Daniel London
DIRECTED BY Tom Shadyac
By playing real-life M.D. Hunter ”Patch” Adams, a former suicidal mental patient who discovers the healing power of humor and heads to medical school, Williams takes his fifth turn playing a doctor (and that’s not counting his medico in this fall’s What Dreams May Come) on screen. ”He’s a doctor,” says the actor, ”but he’s also a clown, which some people find redundant.” Williams tickled residents on the comedy-drama’s Chapel Hill, N.C., set by goofing around during breaks. But touchier townspeople were not amused by a pair of gigantic gams the production attached to a University of North Carolina academic building (for a gag we won’t spoil here). ”We had two legs coming out in stirrups,” says Shadyac (Liar Liar), who was forced to cover the offending props. ”Ironically, across from that set was a women’s studies group.” (Dec. 25)
THE LOWDOWN Williams excels at drama (Good Will Hunting) and out-and-out comedy (Mrs. Doubtfire). Juggling them (Jack) isn’t his forte.